DOZENS of youngsters converged on Sunderland’s Nissan plant as Formula One racing came to Wearside – in miniature.
The F1 in Schools competition promotes careers in engineering, with pupils not only designing and developing their own racing cars, but setting up racing teams, complete with management roles, and even seeking sponsorship and designing graphics.
This year’s event attracted 29 teams from 16 schools.
Nissan head of HR Adrian Smart said the event was aimed at showing children the vast range of potential careers in engineering.
“It is about making sure they know there is a career path that is very exciting which engineering can offer,” he said.
“Hopefully that will be with Nissan but there are many other opportunities the North East can offer.”
Among the schools taking part was St Bede’s from Peterlee, which had three teams competing, one in each age category.
Technically Viral – made up of 15-year-olds Amber Ward, Ellie Dawson, Alex Livingston and Emma Masters – made it to the national final in Birmingham last year.
Taking part has encouraged all four girls to consider a career in engineering and change their GCSE choices accordingly.
“It gives people a chance to see what engineering is actually all about,” said Ellie.
Head of Technology Gary Glover was in no doubt about the benefit of the scheme; “It really builds their confidence from doing presentations and they learn new skills from the engineering side,” he said.
Three teams from Norman Street Primary in Carlisle has set off at 6.45am for the day.
“It’s worth it,” said teacher Karen Nicholson. “They just love it.”